Sunday, April 29, 2012

Gluten-Free Flour Power

This is something nifty I have to share which comes to you courtesy of my mom (thanks, Patti's mom!), who also has to eat gluten-free goodies. Last fall, the nice folks over at Vegetarian Times magazine did a comparison of some of the different GF flour blends and baking mixes out there, just to see how different brands stacked up. The results? Well, turns out it kinda depends on what you're making.

Vegetarian Times: Flour Power

My one complaint about the article is that the comparison is based on cookies, muffins, and pancakes. If you're someone who uses flours in other stuff, this can be a bit confusing. I'll totally agree that there are some flours and blends I like better than others.

If I'm doing something that involves deep-frying, I like a combination of brown rice flour mixed in with some Bob's Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour. I also prefer Bob's and King Arthur brand for anything that's savory as opposed to baked yummies.

That said, this is a great comparison chart, especially if you like to have mixes and other good stuff on hand in your pantry.

Gluten-Free Beer-Battered Chicken

I'm a big fan of the fried chicken strip as finger food, but when you're eating gluten-free, it sort of puts a damper on your fried chicken consumption. However, by blending GF flour and a GF beer, I've managed to come up with the most amazing beer-battered fried chicken ever.

GF Beer Battered Fried Chicken

2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into tenders, nuggets, or whatevers
2 1/2 Cups gluten free multi-purpose flour (I used King Arthur brand)
2 Tbs your favorite seasoning mix
1/2 tsp salt
1 bottle GF beer (I used Redbridge - see below for why I like it)
Canola oil for frying

Put the baking mix in a bowl, and whisk in the salt and the seasoning mix. My personal preference is Penzey's Bicentennial Rub, because (a) it's amazing and peppery and (b) I *always* have it on hand. Once your dry stuff is mixed together, slowly pour the beer into the flour mix.

It helps if you let the beer get a little flat first, because otherwise you have fizzy batter. I used Redbridge, which I really like. It's made by the Anheuser-Busch folks, and I can pick it up at Kroger so there are no special shopping runs involved. It's made from sorghum, and even though I generally don't like the taste of beer, this actually has a pretty good flavor and no aftertaste.

Also, if you're feeling really adventurous, WoodChuck makes a nice hard cider that works pretty well for this too.  

Blend the beer and flour mix until it's good and thick. Coat your chicken chunks in the batter, drop into your heated oil, and fry until golden.

Dig in, and wait for your family to be impressed as hell that they're eating something that's gluten free.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Granola Goodness

I've never been a fan of cereal, but I loves me some granola. The problem with granola, once you go gluten-free, is you never really know whether those oats are gluten-free or not. Bob's Red Mill makes a certified GF Rolled Oats, available in an 32-oz bag, which is perfect for making my friend Stacey Graham's easy peasy granola recipe.

I added a bag of GF white chocolate chips, and two cups shredded coconut. This stuff is amazing, and so filling. Toss it in a bowl, add some milk and strawberries, and you'll be stuffed for days.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Get Stuff With Gluten-Free Saver

If you're familiar with the concept of Groupon, you know that there's a ton of stuff to be had at a discount when people buy it online - the basic principle is that an offer is made available for a limited time, and once it's done, it's done. It's kind of a deal-of-the-day sort of thing. Now there's something similar that focuses strictly on gluten-free products, and it's called Gluten-Free Saver.

Unlike Groupon, where deals expire after 24 hours, Gluten-Free Saver typically offers their deals for a few days at a time. And again, once they're gone, they're gone. Members sign up for email alerts to let them know about the current promotion, and stuff is discounted quite a bit - the deals I've seen so far have been pretty significant, up around 60% off retail prices.

This is a great idea if you're someone who buys a lot of prepackaged GF products. And let's face it, we've all had emergencies where we had to throw together a batch of cookies at midnight so we... no? OH YES YOU DID.

So anyway, if you like keeping mixes on hand, then this is definitely worth checking out. I've been getting alerts and found some good deals but have yet to actually buy anything - I'm sure I will eventually, once I see a product that I absolutely can't live without (Bob's Red Mill, I'm lookin' at YOU!).

The Obligatory Intro Post

I've been toying for a while with the idea of a blog dedicated to gluten-free food. While I'll be the first to admit it's not like there's a shortage of GF websites out there, I've also found that four years into my involuntary life as a GF eater, there's a lot of really awesome information to share. I'm not a professional chef, by any means, but I am someone who tries to eat locally, mindfully, and in a way that is healthy not just for me, but also my family.

Combine that with the fact that I'm a freelance writer who really loves to cook stuff from scratch (enough that a few friends are prodding me to create a cookbook) and Gluten-Free Redhead was born. For now, I'm going to start by sharing recipes I make and love - bear in mind that if it's someone else's recipe, I'll be providing proper credit where it's due. If it's one of my own, you'll know it.

I haven't always been gluten-free, and I haven't always been a redhead - but I've always loved food, and there's no reason I shouldn't continue to enjoy it. There's also no reason YOU shouldn't enjoy it. Dig in - eating gluten-free doesn't mean you're stuck with carrots and rice cakes for the rest of your life. On the contrary, there's some really sexy gluten-free food porn out there - you just have to learn to think outside your comfort zone. One of my favorite challenges is to take a Not GF recipe and turn it into something I can eat with reckless abandon. In the immortal words of that great intellectual, Paris Hilton, "That's hot."

I'll also be sharing links to other GF blogs that I love, restaurant information, and some tools and tips that I've found to be really handy when it comes to GF cooking. If you happen to see a product review here on Gluten-Free Redhead, know that I'm reviewing it because I went ahead and bought it myself, with my very own real money, unless you see a disclaimer stating otherwise.

Oh, and there's going to be times when I talk about stuff that has nothing to do with gluten-free eating at all -- and that all happens over at my main page, here, at Outside the Lines. Stop in and say howdy!